Smartphones with metal exteriors are set to get a whole lot better, with Qualcomm announcing that they have engineered a wireless charging solution that, for the first time, works through metal phone backs.
In the past, companies that wanted to integrate wireless charging into their smartphones had to either use a non-metallic material for the rear of the device, or develop a separate cover to attach to the outside. Qualcomm's new technology allows the wireless charger's inductive coil to be placed beneath the metal back of a device while still functioning as intended.
Qualcomm hasn't shared exactly how this technology works, but it's compatible with the Alliance for Wireless Power's Rezence wireless charging standard. Currently the Rezence standard isn't as widespread in the market as the Wireless Power Consortium's Qi standard, but the ability to wirelessly charge metal smartphones gives it a big one-up on its rival.
This new technology is being made available to device manufacturers and developers today, with Qualcomm stating they will work with these companies to ensure their metal backs meet the requirements for wireless charging. Qualcomm will also provide assistance to help prevent interference between the charging coils and any wireless radios.
There's no word on when we might see metal-bodied smartphones with wireless charging inside, but considering a handful of high-end devices currently on the market feature premium metal designs (such as the iPhone 6 and HTC One M9), successors to these devices might just add in wireless charging support.